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Training is an inherent part of Dungeon Siege III, like many role-playing games. As you journey across Ehb there will be forests that reveal a host of monsters that yield experience points as you search for treasure and weapons. It will give you a good sense of the character’s abilities as well as their shortcomings.
Traditionally, as with most RPG’s, these shortcomings make the characters well balanced across the board but in a few instances, a Dungeon Siege III character can become awkward to use in combat.
Make no mistake, this is not at all like Assassin’s Creed where the character is immediately remarkable after 30 minutes of play through. Training is a requirement and will only serve to enhance character appeal. Time spent training early on can yield very nice abilities to play with, depending on character choice and playing style.
Unfortunately, for sheer excitement during combat, the female characters seem to have gotten more of the fun abilities while the men are left to languish with somewhat generic physical combat maneuvers. In a game where training is not only suggested but required, exciting combat is a huge plus for gamers. The built in weaknesses of each of the four heroes succeeds in making the player choose the one closest to their playing style.
Your long range shooter won’t have much armor initially, while your swordsman won’t have any distance attacks at all. Several of the power sphere attacks are just bigger versions of the characters’ standard magic or physical attack. The power sphere meter fills as you attack and another new sphere appears every few level ups. These special attacks might have greater range and damage but the visual affects aren’t always going to wow you at every moment.
There are a few, however, that players will never get tired of using because of sheer cool factor. This isn’t a bad thing since a screen can get bombarded with multiple onscreen spells triggering at once, but does reduce some of the variety in an already exceptionally focused game.
Katarina, the Ranged Shooter of Dungeon Siege III, is the illegitimate daughter of the former Grand Master of the Legion. As a Lescanzi witch, she’ll have a greater degree of magic power later in the game and her initial benefits will be long and short range combat. She will have the power of a long range rifle, but this requires some strategic thinking since the rifle doesn’t work as well as it could up close, so upgrading your pistol and shotgun is suggested.
Charging straight into the fray will only result in a quick death when you get overwhelmed. Unlike his half sister Katarina, Lucas Montbarron can survive using only his two-handed greatsword. In the truest sense of the word, Lucas is a classic swordsman through and through. He’ll have a set of rush attacks as well as some minor degree of magical power. Much of the time, your sword and shield combination won’t do you much good at all, especially when fighting against large groups.
Trade defense for offense and stick to the larger two handed sword. His weapon can still be used as a shield but his major weakness is that he has no ranged attacks at all. This makes certain aspects of the game, such as boss combat, somewhat more difficult. Reinhart Manx is a descendant of a Grand Mage Manx, who is both a Mage and scholar.
He will easily be the strongest characters available early on in the game. This is fine, except that when using his magic attacks, there’s a huge empty buffer zone between the player and the magic attack. Distance magic attacks will cover one area, and then once enemies get close, switching to melee attacks to hold back the enemy hordes.
It’s an annoyance to switch in between the two modes in an otherwise strong character. His melee attacks are strong as well, but not very exciting to watch. Anjali, easily the most fun and versatile character in the entire game, is a joy to play. Not of this earth in the traditional sense, she is an Archon that has a floating fire elemental form that’s both gorgeous and deadly. Her ability to throw fireballs at a distance is only matched by her ability to burn the enemies that surround her while she attacks.
In human form, she wields a fire element spear that is lethal at close range. You’ll probably stick to the fire elemental form for the most part, but the human form has its own appeal from many angles. Something that is nice about the game is that you’ll have multiple save slots. When you want to save, find a save point and do so; there are plenty in the game. This makes playing through the game as all four characters much easier versus having one save slot only, losing all your past saves every time you want to start a new character.
Many of the boss monsters in the game will chase you and, at least early in the game, there will be a set of trees or a formation of rocks that stops the monsters from chewing you up. Running around in a circle might not be the most fun strategy, but it’s often the most useful. Stopping to turn around and attack can then be thrown into the mix, and there are certain creatures you’ll be able to catch up to by running up behind them and attacking.
When facing boss creatures, having a companion with you will make your life much easier. Hopefully, you’ll spend some time upgrading the companion character so that they can help you when you’re stuck. At the very least, the companion character can help revive you, assuming that they don’t die right after you!
Gaining influence with your companion character will yield small attribute bonuses to your primary character, though they aren’t as noticeable at first. Each companion character will offer a bonus boost that varies by companion character but is generally a +5 bonus in those areas.
With many players getting Anjali as a companion character, it is likely that a +5 attack bonus is in the works for a lot of players. This is a nice extra thrown in for those players who do take the time to painstakingly answer the conversation questions correctly. It will not however, replace training and weapons attributes as a valuable source of raising the level of the primary character.
The heroes of Dungeon Siege as a whole, seem to be balanced in their abilities with one or two minor exceptions. The characters are different enough for multiple playing styles, but the voice acting and script leave much to be desired. The characters and the action aspect of this role-playing game make for a more active, if slightly repetitive playing style.
Multiple button presses allow for players to chain together a dizzying mix of physical and magical attacks that can light up the entire screen with multiple colors all at once. To learn the true nuances of the game see part 3 for our review of Dungeon Siege III Tips and Tricks. Exceptionally focused, a tad restrained and slightly bland with voice acting, Dungeon Siege III has the potential to be many hours of fun if gamers will stick to this series.
Players looking for a decently plotted, training oriented item collecting action RPG need look no further. Despite boring item titles, odd character design and lack of several visual necessities, Dungeon Siege III plays well enough with most characters and is traditional enough of a sample as an RPG before gamers transition to the full scale entree course of larger more modern scale RPG’s.